INTERVIEW – STAVROS DZODZOS – DIRTY SOUND MAGNET

Dirty Sound Magnet, the uprising band from the depths of Switzerland are taking over the UK once again this September/October on their 35-date tour across Europe (Dates at end of article). So suddenly accelerating forward with the release of ‘Western Lies’ in 2017, as well as solid touring for the past few years, what do the band have to say about it all? We talked with Stavros Dzodzos from the band to learn a little bit more about the musical groups true perspectives into touring, music and culture.

‘Western Lies’, the band’s latest album, was released to the public in 2017, bringing themes of capitalism, rebellion and a reflection of society together. Through the power of their music, this is where the band believe they can show a true reflection of society. “Being an artist means that, in one way or another, you mirror the society you live in. You’re showcasing what society is and it’s therefor important to be an external actor enabling you to be as neutral as possible. Nowadays, it’s pretty old fashioned to rebel but we do it anyway cause it’s important to us. I will never talk about politics in an interview or so but if I can convey a message which I have thought about, I’m convinced about in a song, why not?” Writing stories of society is important to the group, yet despite being from a small Swiss town, they’re enticed to write their messages in English over their native language. “The great thing about touring in the UK is that for the first time people actually understand what I’m singing about. InSwitzerland, people speak German, French and Italian. My lyrics are not relevant in that context and I know that.” The fact of the matter is, your audience shrinks if you sing in another language than English on an international level and for the band, even the melodies can be altered if written in another language. “The thing is, if you sing in French it automatically becomes French pop, even if you do rock music. In French, the words are more melodic already so you already have a rhythm and a melody in the words. Words take over and become dominant. In English as the language is more neutral, it has a colder rhythm and less melody. Words get into the music instead of over the music and vocals become an instrument.”

Throughout the chaos of constant touring, luckily the band have still found time to devote themselves to recording. “We just recorded a new album over the summer, which we’re going to release single by single to give every song as much exposure as possible. The album’s coming Spring 2019 I hope!” Interestingly, this album, while wanted and anticipated by the group, in the end came as a bit of a surprise. “One month before that we didn’t expect to have an album. It’s like an unanticipated baby that’s just arrived! This new album comes as a blessing because we were like: ‘when are we going to record it we’re touring all the time!’ We were so lucky cause things happened really well and we were able to get a fantastic studio – a really top-notch studio for a month. We’re really Happy about it and yeah looking forward to releasing the tracks.”

Having toured 2017 and the majority of 2018 straight, it’s no surprise that the musical trio have developed themselves not just as a band, but as people through their experiences. “Every conversation revolves around music and how to make it sound better. You go from being a passionate musician to perceiving music almost as a religion. Our principle is simple: ‘Music is our way of life. There’s no plan B’. It’s the only way nowadays.”

Already coming across as a multicultural band, with an Italian bassist (Marco), a Swiss drummer (Maxime) and Greek-Hungarian guitarist (Stavros), the mixed mashup has many varying contributing factors into their music. Speaking on his most memorable moment on tour, Stavros describes how “We played in Budapest and that was a magical place. It was an old ship on the Danube river and they made it into a very nice venue. I was so happy to bring my friends to Hungary, to show them my culture that is so different from the Swiss one.”

Yet, with a music scene so varied across Europe, it’s the UK that stands out the most to Dirty Sound Magnet. Speaking on the topic of Black Sabbath (Who originated from Birmingham) comes a realization that “We don’t have that culture here. To you, Black Sabbath is the band next door. To us they seem unreal, untouchable and therefore the city of Birmingham becomes a romantic place in our fantasies. It’s probably not in real life but to us that’s not important. To us rock music has always been dreamlike and you can here it in our music. When you think about it, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, King Crimson are all bands from the UK. And somehow they are our favorite ones. So you can understand our enthusiasm about the UK. ” The culture around music here to the band is “almost mystical” coming from such a different culture themselves. So what influence do surroundings truly have on their music? “We come from a small city in Switzerland called Fribourg. Before we started exporting our music, we had limited possibilities to develop our careers. It seemed impossible to anyone else but we believed in ourselves. That’s why we practiced in our rehearsal rooms for ten years, every day for 6 hours. The struggles we encountered in our town gave us energy to develop and create our own genre. Surroundings are very important indeed.”

With culture having such an influence on the group, what specifics give them such a psychedelic style? “We’ve got some more exotic influences due to our origins. At home I’ve heard a lot of Greek, Hungarian traditional music and these harmonies are part of our music nowadays. We started with that vision of rock that is raw, just rock and from there we started to get more progressive and psychedelic. We don’t really think about, it just happens.” With so many influences in the mix of Dirty Sound Magnet’s style, to define them as a singular genre is difficult. In a world where new genres and labels are always being created, how can music be defined? “Branding is very hard, you’re calling us psychedelic rock but in a way, I wouldn’t. We call it creative rock because the music can go anywhere. Of course there is a psychedelic tone to our music but to us it goes farther than that. I would prefer if there was no labeling to music, it’s a restriction but you need it from a commercial perspective.”

On the other hand, with the digital age of music evolving so fast, even the blessings of social media promotion have dark undertones. “Sometimes we think that even the blessing part of it is a curse. Thinking about Instagram which is the popular thing right now, it’s actually the worst thing for a musician, you can’t even post your music, you post a minute and you have to sell your image before you sell your music so you end up creating music for your image instead of the opposite.” To release music is so much easier, but with increased ways to share and promote music, it is easier to get lost in the crowd. “If you think about what rock music meant even 20 years ago it was so much more mainstream. Now it’s a very small current of music lost in the immense Spotify!” So, with a new path to quick fame, what happens to those who don’t want to conform to social media promotion? “If you’re not on that path, it’s really taking a long time especially for a band like us from Switzerland. It took us 10 years to get to the UK! As I said, our rule or saying is NO PLAN B, just do it give it everything!’

Dirty Sound Magnet have a very interesting approach to music, as well as the processes behind it. After an hour long interview, Stavros’ final statement to our readers: “Please listen to albums and not just to Spotify playlists. I think that it is where the real art and music is. An album is where you have space to express as an artist. Every song in our catalog is different so if someone only listens to the single Homo Economicus, it won’t represent the band correctly.” The trio are touring across the UK this September/October and this is one interesting band you are not going to want to miss.

• 16.08.2018  Rock Oz’Arènes Festival– Avenches , CH

• 25.08.2018  Openair Zamba Loca– Wohlen , CH

• 14.09.2018  Sunset Bar– Martigny , CH

• 20.09.2018  The Underworld– London , UK

• 21.09.2018  Stramash– Edinburgh , UK

• 22.09.2018  Nice n Sleazy– Glasgow , UK

• 23.09.2018  Stereo– Glasgow , UK

• 25.09.2018  The Bowery– Dublin , IRL

• 26.09.2018  Crane Lane Theater– Cork , IRL

• 27.09.2018  The Jacaranda– Liverpool, UK

• 28.09.2018  Bad Apple– Leeds , UK

• 29.09.2018  Independent– Sunderland , UK

• 30.09.2018  The Cluny– Newcastle , UK

• 01.10.2018  Westgarth Social Club– Middlesbrough , UK

• 02.10.2018  The Maze– Nottingham , UK

• 03.10.2018  Alexander’s Live– Chester , UK

• 04.10.2018  Fuel– Manchester , UK

• 05.10.2018  Zephyr Lounge– Leamington Spa , UK

• 06.10.2018  Ships and Giggles– Preston , UK

• 07.10.2018  Cafe Jazz– Cardiff , UK

• 08.10.2018  The Black Heart– London , UK

• 09.10.2018  The Latest Music– Brighton , UK

• 10.10.2018  Phoenix Bar– High Wycombe , UK

• 11.10.2018  The Smokehouse– Ipswich , UK

• 13.10.2018  Spinnerei– Bern , CH

• 19.10.2018  Le Port Franc– Sion , CH

• 20.10.2018  Sommercasino– Basel , CH

• 21.10.2018  Coq d’Or– Olten , CH

• 24.10.2018  Bastard Club – Osnabrück , GER

• 25.10.2018  Lila Eule – Bremen , GER

• 26.10.2018  Molotow– Hamburg , GER

• 27.10.2018  Bollwerk – Mörs , GER

• 29.10.2018  Musik & Frieden – Berlin , GER

• 30.10.2018  Museumskeller – Erfurt , GER

• 31.10.2018  Factory– Magdeburg , GER

• 02.11.2018  Lux– Hanover , GER

• 03.11.2018  Festival Rare Guitars– Münster , GER

• 15.11.2018  Dynamo– Zürich , CH

• 07.12.2018  Case à Choc– Neuchâtel , CH

• 08.12.2018  Nouveau Monde– Fribourg , CH

• 14.12.2018  Gare de Lion– Wil , CH

• 15.12.2018  BFM– Saignelégier , CH

• 22.12.2018  Kulturfabrik KUFA– Lyss , CH

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s